True North Initiative: News Scan 07 18 17

TOP STORIES

Omar Khadr payout gets larger U.S. media attention after Tory MP pens op-ed

The federal payout to Omar Khadr was a big story in some conservative U.S. media outlets Monday, after nearly two weeks in which it had garnered barely a whisper south of the border. It was the subject of a condemnatory national newspaper column, the top story on the Fox News website, fodder for cable-news chatter on Fox and a huge surge in interest by Americans online. “This story is repulsive,” said a Fox News host. To which former pizza entrepreneur and presidential candidate Herman Cain replied: “It is a pathetic interpretation of the law. Canada basically rewarded a murderer.” The burst of attention started with a Wall Street Journal piece by a Canadian opposition MP. Conservative Peter Kent published a scorching op-ed titled, “A Terrorist’s Big Payday, Courtesy of Trudeau,” that helped the story gain traction elsewhere. (Globe and Mail)

Pair of senators commend Khadr settlement, while issue heating up in U.S. media

Two Canadian senators are standing behind Ottawa’s $10.5-million settlement with Omar Khadr while a federal foreign affairs critic is making waves about the issue in the U.S. media. Both Pate and Bernard were appointed by Trudeau to the senate last fall. Pate had a long career advocating for the imprisoned and Bernard is a former social worker and educator. They are listed as politically independent. (CTV)

Michelle Rempel: "Most Canadians are absolutely outraged about this."

(Twitter)

Omar Khadr: Canada pays ex-Gitmo detainee who killed US soldier millions, but soldier's widow may never see a dime

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gave Omar Khadr a big payout, but the terrorist’s real victims may never see any of that money. Canada agreed to pay the former Guantanamo prisoner a reported $8 million in a lawsuit alleging civil rights violations. The settlement included an apology. The Canadian-born Khadr was 15 in 2002 when he tossed a grenade in a firefight that killed U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Speer, a special forces medic. (FOX News)

Why Canadian airport security is exactly as useless and arbitrary as you think

The next time you see Canadian airport security confiscating a half-full bottle of Diet Coke from a confused Saskatchewan grandmother, just remember that you’re not alone in suspecting that this is an utterly flawed system to keep aircraft safe. In fact, a cadre of security experts would agree with you. (National Post)

B.C. officials begin notifying evacuees about destroyed homes

The threat of an encroaching wildfire weighed on Britanni Erlandson's mind for days yet when the evacuation order came, she wasn't ready to leave her home in Williams Lake, B.C. "You think you're all ready until it comes down to it. You feel panic, you don't know what to do," she said, adding her husband and their seven-year-old daughter joined a caravan of vehicles Saturday after a wind-fuelled flare-up of a fire near their town. (CTV)

Radicalised schoolgirl, 16, who ran away from home to fight for ISIS is captured in wartorn Mosul

A 16-year-old German runaway schoolgirl has been captured in the besieged Iraqi city of Mosul where she has been fighting for Islamic State. Linda Wenzel has been pictured after her arrest looking much older and more gaunt than the typical Facebook pictures she'd posted before her radicalisation. She fled her home in Pulsnitz near Dresden a year ago, flying from Frankfurt to Turkey before making her way to Syria. (Mirror.co.uk) (Metro.co.uk)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Canada becomes second-most popular country for rich Chinese emigrants

Chinese millionaires are flocking to Canada for its attractive lifestyle and property investment opportunities, according to a new survey. The survey results show Canada has surpassed the United Kingdom as the second-most popular foreign country to live in for Chinese individuals worth between 10 million to 200 million yuan ($1.8 million - $37.3 million Canadian). Vancouver and Toronto were also among the most popular cities for investing, with Vancouver moving up to fifth spot and Toronto surging into eighth place in the annual survey rankings. (CTV)

Indian students rush to Canadian universities

The number of Indian students seeking admission to Canadian institutions is increasing very rapidly, according to a report. The University of Toronto alone has reported a 57 per cent jump in applications for admission from students from India, the BBC report said. Overall, Canada's premier university has reported a 20 per cent jump in foreign students seeking admission. (Economic Times)

Edward Snowden’s ‘guardian angels’ seek fast-track refugee claim to Canada

A group of Hong Kong asylum seekers who sheltered the American surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013 is calling on the Canadian government to speed up their refugee applications in the face of concern they will be imminently detained, deported and separated from their children. The group’s legal team, which consists of lawyers in Hong Kong and Montreal, accused Canadian officials of reversing a decision in April to expedite the refugee applications of the so-called “Snowden’s Guardian Angels.” They told reporters on Parliament Hill the asylum seekers would face possible arrest, torture or death if they are deported to their home countries of Sri Lanka and the Philippines, and are demanding an explanation from Ottawa about why the cases aren’t being fast-tracked. (Toronto Star)

Canadian government accused of abandoning families that sheltered Edward Snowden

Lawyers representing three families who once sheltered U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden in Hong Kong say they are taking the federal government to court to find out why their clients are not being granted emergency asylum in Canada. (Global)

Graves of 45,000 veterans in disrepair due to funding shortfall: audit

The grave markers standing in orderly rows are clean and well-maintained on a brilliant summer afternoon. The words on each are easy to read, even those carved decades ago, while the grey stones are all clean, the surrounding grass and flowers are trim and manicured. (CBC)

The Pentagon promised citizenship to foreign-born recruits. Now some are fleeing to avoid deportation, including to Canada

Frustrated by delayed promises from the U.S. military for citizenship, and in fear of Daesh if he were deported back to Iraq, Ranj Rafeeq has given up the American Dream for a Canadian one. Rafeeq was eager as a teenager to translate for U.S. troops stationed in his hometown of Kirkuk in 2005. He immigrated to Portland, Ore., to study seven years later, hoping to don an Army uniform after earning his graduate degree in civil engineering. (Toronto Star)

Imam charged with hate promotion against Jews

One imam down, another apparent hatemonger – this one a rapper – to go. B’nai Brith CEO Michael Mostyn said Monday it was “good” to see the Hate Crimes Unit of the Montreal police finally charge Sheikh Muhammad Musa Al Nasr with the wilful promotion of hatred following his sermon of more than six months ago. (Toronto Sun)

Scheer says Conservatives have a 'great story to tell'

New Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer seems to embrace the notion he is “Stephen Harper with a smile” but says Canadians will see a much different style from him as he leads his party into the next election more than two years down the road. “My approach will be different and I can connect with Canadians in a different way and bring out the positive aspects of Conservative policies,” Scheer told CTV’s Your Morning Monday. (CTV)

Liberal MP welcomes debate with Scheer over Khadr settlement

Liberal MP Chandra Arya says he welcomes Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer’s suggestion to debate the Liberal government’s settlement with Omar Khadr. Arya acknowledged that “it’s not just the Conservatives” who are against the reported $10.5 million payout to Khadr. “Most Canadians … they’re uncomfortable, as the prime minister said.” The Nepean MP was in the Centre Block Monday morning, delivering introductory remarks to summer school students who were touring Parliament. He spoke with iPolitics between tours. (IPolitics)

'Come to CRA before we go to you': International deal designed to expose offshore tax cheats

Canadians with secret overseas bank accounts could soon find themselves at risk of being exposed by a new international agreement designed to help catch tax cheats. Under the Common Reporting Standard, dozens of countries will share information about bank accounts held by non-residents. (CBC)

Ottawa targets income ‘sprinkling’ loophole that lets wealthy Canadians reduce tax bill

A new federal blueprint for closing tax loopholes unfairly benefiting the wealthy will target Canadians who use private corporations to “sprinkle” income among family members to lower their collective tax burden, according to a Department of Finance document obtained by the Toronto Star. (Toronto Star)

Trump warns Venezuela it faces strong, swift 'economic actions'

US President Donald Trump on Monday warned Caracas of "economic actions" if Nicolas Maduro delivers on his bid to rewrite the constitution, calling the Venezuelan president a "bad leader who dreams of being a dictator". "The United States will not stand by as Venezuela crumbles," Trump said in a statement. (News 24)

Young Saudi woman sparks controversy with mini skirt video

A young Saudi woman sparked a sensation online over the weekend by posting a video of herself in a miniskirt and crop top walking around in public, with some Saudis calling for her arrest and others rushing to her defense. State-linked news websites reported on Monday that officials in the deeply conservative Muslim country are looking into taking possible action against the woman, who violated the kingdom’s rules of dress. Women in Saudi Arabia must wear long, loose robes known as abayas in public. Most also cover their hair and face with a black veil, though exceptions are made for visiting dignitaries. (New York Post) (BBC)

On the front line of Ukraine's ceasefire

It's three years since Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was shot down in eastern Ukraine, leaving 298 people dead. A Dutch-led investigation found that the missile which hit the plane had been brought from Russia and fired from territory controlled by the separatists. The conflict between Russian-backed separatists and the Kiev government has claimed more than 10,000 lives. (BBC)

Why China censors banned Winnie the Pooh

The blocking of Winnie the Pooh might seem like a bizarre move by the Chinese authorities but it is part of a struggle to restrict clever bloggers from getting around their country's censorship. When is a set of wrist watches not just a set of wrist watches? When is a river crab not just a river crab? Inside the Great Firewall of China of course. (BBC)

U.S. certifies that Iran is meeting terms of nuclear deal

The Trump administration certified to Congress late Monday that Iran has continued to meet the required conditions of its nuclear deal with the United States and other world powers. But senior administration officials made clear that the certification was grudging, and said that President Trump intends to impose new sanctions on Iran for ongoing “malign activities” in non-nuclear areas such as ballistic missile development and support for terrorism. (Washington Post)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES 

Peter Kent: A Terrorist’s Big Payday, Courtesy of Trudeau

Omar Khadr pulled the pin from a grenade and tossed it at Sgt. First Class Christopher Speer, a U.S. Army Delta Force medic, on July 27, 2002. Those are the facts to which Mr. Khadr, a Canadian citizen, confessed when he pleaded guilty before a Guantanamo Bay war-crimes commission. (Wall Street Journal)

Anthony Furey: NDP haven’t been all that vocal about Khadr deal and here’s why

It’s risky business, being a politician on the left these days. They champion new-fangled progressive issues and this makes them the darlings of social justice warriors and the liberal media. But they do so at the risk of alienating the non-elite, blue collar folks within their ranks for whom these increasingly fringe concerns just don’t resonate. (Toronto Sun)

Graeme Gordon: Liberals let terrorists keep their citizenship, yet revoke citizenship for lesser offences

Although the Liberals’ shocking payout to Omar Khadr has eclipsed all other stories this month, the government’s recent passage of Bill C-6 is actually far more consequential. Unlike the Khadr settlement—which provides a generous monetary payment to a single Canadian in unique circumstances—Bill C-6 will reward any number of convicted terrorists with something invaluable: the right to retain their Canadian citizenship. (National Post)

Lorne Gunter: Gunter: Alberta conservative unity likely to happen this weekend

I’ve done a couple of swings through Southern Alberta over the past two weeks. Off to the Calgary Stampede. Off to the mountain parks. Off to ranching country to find out why my beef is costing me so much this summer. And all anyone wants to talk about are two things: Will the Wildrose and Tories vote to unite this coming weekend? Why has Wildrose Leader Brian Jean suddenly become Mr. Soft-in-the-Middle? (Edmonton Sun)

J.J. McCullough: Much of Khadr debate has little to do with him

The enormous public pushback to the Trudeau government’s $10.5 million payout to Omar Khadr, which a much-quoted Angus Reid poll found large majorities of Canadians across the political spectrum oppose, could be a comparable moment for Canada’s own media elite. Given Khadr has enjoyed almost universally sympathetic coverage in the mainstream Canadian press over the last few years, the vast public revulsion at awarding him millions in compensation must surely shock those whose years of rhetorical labour have clearly failed to move the dial. (Toronto Sun)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

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